Authorities seized at least nine chainsaws and four vehicles loaded with timber from Prey Lang forest in Sandan district on Sunday afternoon, the district governor said yesterday.
However, the governor, Lorng Kisoeng, expressed disappointment that district police were unable to arrest those responsible.
“The suspects seemed to realise [the raid was coming] beforehand, so they escaped before the force arrived,” he said.
Large parts of Prey Lang forest are set to become new protected areas, according to a decision of the Ministry of Environment revealed on April 26.
The ministry will take over the patrols of the forest in the very near future, Kisoeng said. He appealed to forest communities and other forest-related authorities to help protect the area.
“The people in this generation have to take responsibility for the next generation.”
Prey Lang Forest Community activists said last month that rapacious logging is continuing despite this year’s logging crackdown in the country’s east.
Separately, the Preah Vihear Provincial Court charged three men with illegally logging after they were arrested in Prey Preah Roka forest.
Provincial forestry officers, police, soldiers and court officials found the trio’s camp during a patrol of the protected area.
According to the Forestry Administration, the men hail from Kampot’s Chhouk district and possessed seven chainsaws, a mini-tractor, a motorbike, a home-made rifle, two axes, two machetes and a motorbike, all of which were confiscated.
“They were charged with possessing chainsaws without permission and collecting forest products illegally. They were put into pretrial detention,” said provincial prosecutor Ly Lon.